|Publication number||US7560644 B2|
|Application number||US 12/313,294|
|Publication date||Jul 14, 2009|
|Filing date||Nov 19, 2008|
|Priority date||Nov 19, 2007|
|Also published as||US20090126989|
|Publication number||12313294, 313294, US 7560644 B2, US 7560644B2, US-B2-7560644, US7560644 B2, US7560644B2|
|Inventors||Jim Ford, Lance Slmma|
|Original Assignee||Luse Thermal Technologies, LLC|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (14), Classifications (19), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application filed Nov. 19, 2007 under Application No. 61/003,680.
1) Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to fire protection for high-risk facilities such as electrical power plants and electrical sub-stations, and more particularly, to a comprehensive passive fire protection system to prevent fire damage from burning power cables from spreading between adjacent power cables, control cables, equipment and rooms of utility facilities.
2) Description of Related Art
Fire protection for power facilities is a critical component of their construction given the tendency for fires to occur at such facilities. A fire at an electrical sub-station can cause substantial damage to equipment, cause outage time to a service area, and cost millions of dollars to repair if proper fire prevention techniques are not used. Unfortunately, the currently used techniques and materials to prevent such fire damage are inadequate for intended protection, inadequate to protect against the severity and duration of the fire, improperly installed, or are completely unqualified designs that can accelerate the spread of a fire. For example, inspections of electrical sub-station facilities has revealed unqualified or missing fire penetration seals (“firestops”) around power and control cables passing between floors. This degrades the fire rating of the floor separating, for example, a switchgear room from a basement where the majority of the power and control cables are routed. Degraded fire barriers can allow passage of fire and smoke through the floor openings, creating problems for the operation of switchgear, or even the total loss of a sub-station. As smoke can travel up to 420 feet per minute, proper containment is essential to effectively combat a fire and maintain operation of the facility. Further, it has been observed that because specific standards mandated for passive fire protection systems have been ignored, combustible materials, such as cardboard and rags, have been used to seal openings between floors, which can have devastating consequences.
The vast majority of fire protection systems are designed to be installed from above the floor. In sub-station basements, “above the floor” typically means inside a switch gear or bus cabinet. This can create a substantial design flaw in the protection depending on the type of floor. For example, when installing an “above the floor” seal in a hollow core concrete floor, typically accomplished with small amounts of mineral wool and caulk jammed around the cable or pipe, there is no protection which extends into the flooring to seal off the large openings formed in the flooring itself. This allows the fire and smoke to spread through the flooring and possibly causing the floor to fail or find an alternative exit into the room above.
Further, effective passive fire protection requires unique designs depending on the type of flooring. Different passive fire protection seal designs are often required for different floor types, including: hollow core floor, 3 inch concrete slab, 6 to 9 inch concrete slab, concrete on metal pan deck, or metal floor. The prior art does not effectively give consideration to adapting qualified passive fire protection designs for many different types of flooring. Because each type of floor has its own design challenges, failure to use a qualified protection method can substantially degrade the fire rating of the floor and eliminate any inherent protection therein.
In addition to maintaining the effective fire rating of the flooring, it is important to anticipate and protect against overheating and explosions of connections between power cables. When a cable joint explodes, fire and molten metal from the cable fault typically knock out adjacent cables, shutting down other power circuits. Further, burning power cables have damaged control cables routed above power cables, degrading ability to operate the sub-station. The prior art and current fire protection techniques fail to properly and adequately address these problems.
Aside from openings in flooring for cabling and the like, a typical sub-station often has a steel hatchway cover between floors. For example, such a hatchway cover is used to close an access way between the basement and the sub-station battery backup power room. It has been observed that heat radiating through a closed steel hatchway cover resulting from a basement fire at a sub-station melted the battery packs in the room above. This resulted in failure of the sub-station backup power. Damage to the facilities backup power system prevented operation of switchgear, leading to a larger power outage. Thus, there is a need to protect such hatchways from radiating heat that may damage equipment in adjacent rooms.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a comprehensive passive fire protection system for high-risk buildings such as power facilities.
It is an object of the present invention to provide fireproof seal designs for closing cable penetration openings that can be efficiently installed from underneath the floor to contain fire and smoke within a compartment.
It is an object of the present invention to provide specific passive fire protection designs for specific types of flooring to maintain the fire rating of the flooring.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a passive fire protection system that includes fire resistant wraps for power cable joints so that an exploding power cable joint has reduced capability of damaging adjacent power cables.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a passive fire protection system that includes a fire barrier between control cables and power cables to protect the control cables from exploding and burning power cables so that operations of the facility can be maintained.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a passive fire protection system that includes radiant heat shielding for hatchways so that radiant heat passing through hatchway covers is prevented from damaging equipment in adjacent rooms.
The above objectives are accomplished according to the present invention by providing a passive fire protection system for a power facility comprising a series of power cables carried by racks in a basement level of the power facility so that a plurality of power cables are generally aligned in a vertically spaced arrangement above the ground, and wherein the power cables include cable connectors at various points along the power cables to join ends of the power cables; a first fire resistant wrap enclosing the cable connectors and extending outwardly along the power cables a predefined distance to resist fire damage resulting from a failure at the cable connectors; the first fire resistant wrap being carried by power cables on the rack adjacent to the cable connectors both above and below so that fire damage to adjacent power cables resulting from a failure of the cable connectors is resisted; a plurality of control cables carried on the racks above the power cables for operating various equipment of the power facility; a flexible fire resistant sheet carried between the power cables and the control cables defining a fire deflection barrier, wherein the fire resistant sheet is vertically spaced between the power cables and the control cables to create an air gap below the power cables so that direct exposure of the control cables to flames from burning power cable is resisted; the control cables having a cable drop section wherein the control cables extend downwardly from the rack towards the power cables and enter an opening in a wall of the basement, wherein a second fire resistant wrap encloses the cable drop section that extends from the fire resistant sheet to the opening in the wall so that the cable drop section is protected from burning power cables; a hatchway disposed in a ceiling of the basement having a hatchway cover, wherein a radiant heat shield is applied to a bottom side of the hatchway cover exposed to the basement so that heat from a fire in the basement is deflected from passing through the hatchway cover into the floor above the basement; and, a plurality of cable penetration opening disposed in the ceiling of the basement passing the control cables through to the floor above, wherein a fire penetration seal is disposed in each of the cable penetration openings to resist fire and heat from passing upward into adjacent floors of the power facility.
In a further embodiment, the first fire resistant wrap includes a fiberglass layer exposed on a first side of the wrap and a silicone foam layer exposed on a second side of the wrap opposite the first side, wherein the wrap is mounted to the power cables with the first side of the fiberglass layer contacting the power cables and the silicone foam layer facing outward.
In a further embodiment, the flexible fire resistant sheet and the second fire resistant wrap comprises a silica cloth.
In a further embodiment, the silica cloth is wrapped around the cable drop and secured to the cable drop by fire resistant ceramic rope ties so that the ties resist burning off and allowing the silica cloth to unwrap from the cable drop.
In a further embodiment, the system includes a cable tray supporting the control cables, wherein the flexible fire resistant sheet is carried below the cable tray and above the power cables to provide a fire resistant barrier between the control cables and the power cables.
In a further embodiment, the system includes a fire resistant caulk carried around a peripheral edge of the radiant heat shield to eliminate air gaps between the radiant heat shield and the hatchway cover to resist heat transfer through the hatchway cover.
In a further embodiment, the fire penetration seal includes a fire resistant block material carried in the cable penetration opening providing a foundation for sealing off the opening.
In a further embodiment, the fire penetration seal includes a fire resistant caulk carried around the fire resistant blocks to form an airtight seal between the blocks and the ceiling to close off the cable penetration opening.
In a further embodiment, the system includes a fire resistant cable collar mounted to the ceiling around a cable bundle extending through the cable penetration opening, wherein an interior area of the collar receiving the cable bundle is filled with the fire resistant caulk.
In a further embodiment, the system includes one of a metal plate and wire mesh mounted to the ceiling covering at least a portion of the cable penetration opening supporting the fire resistant blocks.
The construction designed to carry out the invention will hereinafter be described, together with other features thereof. The invention will be more readily understood from a reading of the following specification and by reference to the accompanying drawings forming a part thereof, wherein an example of the invention is shown and wherein:
With reference to the drawings, the invention will now be described in more detail. A comprehensive approach to passive fire protection for high-risk facilities such as electrical power plants and electrical sub-stations is accomplished according to the present invention by providing a system and method that includes the following: 1) fire penetration seals on all cable penetrations through floors; 2) power cable joint protection; 3) control cable protection; and, 4) hatchway cover protection. Together, these passive protection systems combine to provide effective fire containment and management. Each of these areas is described in further detail herein below.
As part of the comprehensive approach to passive fire protection, it is important to anticipate and protect against overheating and explosions of connections between power cables. When a cable joint, designated generally as 11 (
During the installation process, an electrician checks for joint hot spots in areas requiring coverage and measures the required length of fire resistant wrap 18 to meet the recommended coverage standards. Using a knife or scissors, fire resistant wrap 18 is cut to the required length. Fire resistant wrap 18 is placed around power cable bundle 10. Fire resistant wrap 18 is then positioned for correct placement, making sure wrap 18 extends 12 inches beyond the edge of cable connector 16. Referring to
Fire penetration seals (“firestops”) around power and control cables passing between floors, or for other random opening between floors are critical to successful passive fire protection. Improper installation and unqualified materials are a root cause of most failures to maintain the proper fire rating for the floor. Any openings through the firestop protection seals will lead to premature failure of the entire seal. The present invention provides specific design arrangements for a given flooring type using select materials to provide effective fire penetration seals for all cable penetration opening. Referring to
Most older firestop systems in the prior art are installed from above the floor. The present invention uses entirely new techniques and materials to install reliable fire penetration seals from underneath the floor. Referring to
Next, selection of the appropriate fire penetration seal design is required to install a qualified seal for a given floor type and opening. To accomplish this in the field, it is preferred that a qualified installation technician examine the opening requiring a firestop and compare the opening to a field manual illustrating a comparable opening and a corresponding appropriate installation setup. Accordingly, the installer will determine, depending on floor type, how the fire blocks are to be positioned, whether a cable collar 62 is required, as well as other considerations such as wire mesh 68 and steel plating 64.
After evaluation and preparation of the opening 54, the new fire penetration seal installation sequence can begin. A common installation in a hollow-core concrete flooring generally involves fire blocks installed from ceiling side 52 so the 8 inch depth of the block 56 penetrates the floor and seals horizontal passageways 58. The fire blocks 56 are installed flush with surface 70, see FIGS. 13 and 15A-15C, and trimmed to friction fit around cables and fill the opening as much as possible. Referring to
Proper installation technique of fire blocks 56 is critical to an effective seal as it forms the foundation of the entire process. The fire blocks should be cut to accurately follow the contour of round openings and penetrants (cables). A knife with a serrated edge works best for cutting typical fire blocks. It is preferable that the fire blocks are staggered so that joints do not line up between fire blocks. Apply fire resistant caulk 60 into all gaps. Install as much caulk as possible into all gaps. As a general rule, the bigger the gap, the deeper the caulk needs to be installed. Accurate cutting is necessary to provide a good seal with minimal caulk as the majority of fire protection comes from the fire blocks. The fire blocks are wedged into place in a friction fit arrangement in the opening. The fire blocks should be installed so they are flush with the bottom of the opening. Trim, cut and fit the fire blocks as close to the contour of the opening and cables as much as possible. Installing fire blocks around penetrants is the most difficult aspect of the seal design. The full 8 inch length of fire blocks 56 has to be placed within the hollow-core floor. Installation may become difficult around the perimeter of opening 54 where a fire block can get caught by the top of the hollow opening. Larger pieces of fire blocks are easier to push into position, compared to smaller pieces. It is preferred to work from one side of the opening to the other. Place the small pieces before the big pieces. It is better to trim and cut a big piece than to install multiple small pieces. Keep gaps as small as possible. Correct fire block installation calls for joints to be staggered, so cut the block in half when installing the second course. For non-hollow core floors, the fire blocks may be installed with the 8 inch depth positioned horizontally so that the 5 inch depth penetrates the floor. Hollow core floors require fire blocks to be installed with the 8 inch depth extending through the floor. After the fire blocks have been placed in opening, install fire resistant caulk into all gaps. The target install will have all cables, opening, and fire blocks encapsulated by caulk. This provides best fire and smoke seal. Caulking of the fire blocks is a necessary step to provide the best seal possible. Install fire resistant caulk into gaps in cables, between cables, between fire blocks and into any voids in the seal assembly. The depth of caulk is not specified, but it is preferred to install caulk to the maximum extent possible. Preferably, the target depth of caulk is at least 1½ inches. Additionally, when cable bundles are wrapped in electrical tape, it is preferred to puncture the tape at a level adjacent to the bottom of the opening and inject the caulk into the area underneath the tape.
For large extended opening, once the fire blocks 56 are installed and sealed with caulk 60, it is preferred to install stainless steel wire mesh 68. During installation, it is preferred that fasteners supporting the wire mesh be spaced a maximum of 8 inches apart. More specifically, annular spaces larger than 4½ inch need to be covered with 2×2 wire mesh. This can occur between cables or at edge of openings. Extend the stainless steel mesh across the bottom of the floor a minimum of 3 inches, preferably. To support the wire mesh, it is preferred to use stainless steel fasteners and washers.
As shown in
While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described using specific terms, such description is for illustrative purposes only, and it is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||174/68.1, 138/92, 174/135, 174/656, 52/232, 174/68.3, 174/95, 138/123, 174/85, 52/3, 174/482|
|Cooperative Classification||H02G3/0412, H02G3/22, A62C3/16, Y10T29/53209|
|European Classification||H02G3/22, H02G3/04A2, A62C3/16|
|Dec 19, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: LUSE THERMAL TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FORD, JIM;SIMMS, LANCE;REEL/FRAME:022009/0127
Effective date: 20081118
|Nov 13, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Feb 24, 2017||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jul 14, 2017||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|